x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Marion Bartoli provides cheers in Paris as rain disrupts French Open

Rain delays disrupt schedule but Sam Stosur steamrolls through and Marion Bartoli gives the home crowd something to be happy about.

Marion Bartoli took more than three hours before she came up winner.
Marion Bartoli took more than three hours before she came up winner.

PARIS // The Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli did her best to lift the gloom hanging over a rainy Roland Garros after putting herself and the shivering home fans through agony in a three-hour victory over Olga Govortsova.

The 13th seed scraped into the second round, clinching a 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 win on her fifth match point, after producing groans from the Chatrier crowd when she double-faulted on her first.

On a day when heavy rain shortened the programme, the twitchy Bartoli, full of ticks and eccentric mannerisms, could have been accused of hogging the stage as she made men's world No 1 Novak Djokovic wait for his grand entrance.

In the end, however, the crowd did not care as France's top player battled back from 5-3 down in the decider to move through to round two, saving two match points in the process.

At 5-3, 40-15 Govortsova was poised for victory, but a nervy forehand into the net offered Bartoli a lifeline and she saved a second match point with a thumping winner.

Bartoli's victory actually took most of the afternoon, because after a rain-delayed start, she moved a set and a break ahead before being forced off by yet more showers.

"It shows that from a physical and mental perspective I've got the legs for three hours," Bartoli said later.

In between spurts of a rain-shortened day, Sam Stosur won her first game at Roland Garros in comparatively quick fashion.

Stosur waited two-and-half hours for her match to begin and then swept the first nine games to drub 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-2.

The 2010 runner-up dominated with her strong serve and pinpoint groundstrokes, repeatedly skipping shots just inside the lines. Shortly after Stosur finished, rain returned, prompting another interruption.

"I was happy to get out there and start," she said. "It was spitting a little bit when we went out there. You think, 'Oh, are we going to start or are we not?' Lucky for me I was able to finish the match before this last downpour came."

In the men's draw, Australian Bernard Tomic retired trailing Victor Hanescu 7-5, 7-6, 2-1. Tomic was treated for a right hamstring injury after three games and limped at times during the match.

American qualifier Jack Sock, 20, ranked 118th, made a successful Roland Garros debut by beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 7-5. Sock wore initials on his shoes in honour of two friends who died recently in separate car crashes.

"I was definitely thinking of them out there," he said.

Tommy Haas (No 12) earned his first grand slam victory since turning 35, beating Guillaume Rufin 7-6, 6-1, 6-3.

No 26 Grigor Dimitrov advanced when Alejandro Falla retired with indigestion, trailing 6-4, 1-0.

Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka's match against Elena Vesnina was among 10 first-round matches postponed. When they start Wednesday, it will be three days after some players were already into the second round.


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